Several years ago, I first watched the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. It tells the powerful story of a group of paratroopers who fought in World War II, the men of Easy Company. While it had several scenes that were hard to watch, there were several historic lessons centered on the heroic service and sacrifice of many who fought against the evil of the Nazi regime. One scene that was particularly powerful was in an episode titled, “Why We Fight.” In that episode, American soldiers stumbled upon a Nazi concentration camp. They were shocked as many frail, starved holocaust survivors emerged from their shanties. A glimmer of hope had shined into their darkest darkness. It was a powerful scene, one that made me proud to live in a country that fought to liberate these people.
Watching this scene, two things struck me. First, these soldiers endured extraordinary hardships fighting in World War II, and second, their sacrifices were worth the lives of the many they were able to save. The world saw the terrible carnage that results when God’s commands are disregarded.
Sometimes people ask why we engage on controversial family issues like cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion. Wouldn’t it be easier to just let everyone do what they want? Why can’t we just do our own thing and leave others to do theirs? Well, yes, that would definitely be easier. It would be much simpler to tolerate and to avoid the seemingly endless debates. So why not just leave it alone?
We can’t and won’t disengage on these issues because we love people and hate things that destroy people.
Some may not see the connection between the evil of the Nazi war machine and the evil of abortion and sexual sin, but biblically, they are analogous. It’s sobering to consider all sin is a serious offense against a holy God and reaps punishment from Him. The Bible is clear. All sin offends God and deserves eternal punishment away from His presence. Hitler’s sin and my sin both evoke God’s righteous wrath. The holocaust was one of the worst eruptions of evil in the history of the world, but what awaits those who reject God is worse, far worse. As Jesus taught His disciples, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
And that is why we fight. We fight against societal patterns and behaviors that destroy people both in this life and in the life to come. It would be easy to leave people to do whatever they want. It would be easy to keep silent. It’d be easy to let people wallow in their soul-destroying sins. We could save ourselves a lot of grief, but instead, we’ll continue to contend against patterns of darkness because they always lead to the destruction of people we love.
The good news is that Jesus came to destroy soul-destroying sin. He taught that those who turn from their rebellion, put their trust in Him and submit before God will be set free from the coming destruction. That’s good news, indeed.
We who are Christ’s witnesses in the world have a unique challenge. How do we warn people about their pending destruction, the certain outcome of continuing to revolt against God? How do we tell people something worse than the holocaust is coming upon all who refuse to turn from their sins?
We look to Jesus. He is our example. Jesus showed us how to tell people the truth about their perilous condition, but He also showed us how to extend grace and invite people to be cleansed from their sin. He invited and continues to invite all people to trade in their sinful behavior for righteousness and enjoy a restored relationship with God through faith in Him. The greatest miracle God can do is to make a person holy and keep him holy in a sinful world. And that’s exactly what Jesus prayed for the night He was arrested:
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth (John 17:14-17).
At the end of the day, we fight because Jesus told us to. He warned the world would hate us, but gave us hope that through our work many would be sanctified by the very Word of God. When people return to God, marriages are strengthened, children are raised well and life is valued. Evil is literally jettisoned, and that is something truly worth fighting for.
So we’ll continue to tell people the truth about God’s commands regarding marriage and family, and we’ll continue to save marriages, babies and lives. We won’t be surprised when people don’t like our message and even accuse us of hate. They accused Jesus of the same, even as He was dying for their sins. It’s impossible to hate someone while laboring to save them from destruction. So we’ll keep fighting against that which destroys families, futures and souls, and we’ll do it by the strength and love which God provides.
Copyright 2012 Andrew Hess. All rights reserved.